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#1012942 - Sat Sep 28 2013 09:41 PM Food past its sell by date
ren33 Offline
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Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
Posts: 11325
Loc: Fanling
  Hong Kong      
I just read this, and it proved me right after many years of not bothering about sell by dates. I never get sick from what I eat. I think we are a bit neurotic the way we fuss about it.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-24305902
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#1012943 - Sat Sep 28 2013 10:30 PM Re: Food past its sell by date [Re: ren33]
nautilator Offline
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Registered: Mon Jan 09 2012
Posts: 238
Loc: Pennsylvania USA
I'm not surprised -- it's not like food simply turns to mud at its expiration date. This is particularly true of nonspoilables, like dried noodles and canned foods. I imagine a large part of expiration dates is in being a liability issue.

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#1012947 - Sun Sep 29 2013 01:24 AM Re: Food past its sell by date [Re: ren33]
Santana2002 Offline
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Registered: Mon Apr 14 2003
Posts: 8333
Loc: France
This is a sore topic with me, as I am surrounded by people who are maniac about checking the date. No matter how often I remind them that 'best before' means just that (the food is best before the date, but still good after it), does not mean the same thing as use by! I do draw the line at consuming something which has mold growing on it, as even scraping off the top layer (of jam or yoghurt) does not remove the mold spores that have penetrated deeper. There's enough food waste in the developed world, throwing out good food just because it's no longer at it's absolute best is ridiculous! And no, none of my family have every been ill from consuming food past the sell by or best before date.
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#1012949 - Sun Sep 29 2013 01:49 AM Re: Food past its sell by date [Re: ren33]
ren33 Offline
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Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
Posts: 11325
Loc: Fanling
  Hong Kong      
That said, if supermarkets were not so manic about watching the dates there wouldn't be a reduced price area, which is quite good for my pocket!
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#1012960 - Sun Sep 29 2013 03:25 AM Re: Food past its sell by date [Re: ren33]
sue943 Offline

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Registered: Sun Dec 19 1999
Posts: 35681
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I normally adhere to 'Use by' dates on perishable goods and if I buy reduced goods which need to be used that day I pop them in the freezer (if they haven't previously been frozen) then take them out a few hours before I intend to use them. On Friday I bought some fish which was reduced but since I didn't want to use it then I froze it until ysterday then ate it then.

Toni, I avoid mold on jam by storing the jar upside down, that appears to work.
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#1012966 - Sun Sep 29 2013 05:26 AM Re: Food past its sell by date [Re: ren33]
Christinap Offline
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Registered: Sun Jul 27 2008
Posts: 1637
Loc: Essex UK
Originally Posted By: ren33
That said, if supermarkets were not so manic about watching the dates there wouldn't be a reduced price area, which is quite good for my pocket!


Very true ren, often the first place I head for when doing the shopping, sometimes joints of meat, that sort of thing are over 50% cheaper just because they only have a day left on the date. I freeze them and then use when required

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#1012969 - Sun Sep 29 2013 07:10 AM Re: Food past its sell by date [Re: ren33]
sue943 Offline

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My local supermarket is a Waitrose and those of you in the UK know how fussy they can be. I really clean up in there at times, perhaps buying 3 individual cottage pies which are already a bargain at 3 for £6 when they are normally about £2.48 each, they then knock off the saving from the reduced price so they cost next to nothing.


Edited by sue943 (Sun Sep 29 2013 07:11 AM)
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#1013381 - Tue Oct 01 2013 01:35 PM Re: Food past its sell by date [Re: sue943]
Gheelnory Offline
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Registered: Wed Aug 07 2013
Posts: 78
Loc: Florida USA
Whether this is true globally I don't know, but it does seem to be true in the USA that there is a difference between actual "Expiration" language, and "Use By" or "Best By." The site homecooking.about has this:

***Best if used by and use-by date: With emphasis on the best qualifier in this term, it means the product should retain maximum freshness, flavor and texture if used by this date. It is not a purchase-by or safety date. Beyond this date, the product begins to deteriorate, although it may still be edible.

***Expiration date: If you haven't used the product by this date, toss it out. Other dating terms are used as a basic guideline, but this one means what it says.


I agree with what's been said as far as many, many products being safe to eat past the date printed on the package. But I'd be careful about anything known to be prone to bacterial growth (refrigerated products that use dairy, for instance.)
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#1013396 - Tue Oct 01 2013 03:19 PM Re: Food past its sell by date [Re: ren33]
guitargoddess Offline


Registered: Mon Jul 09 2007
Posts: 34344
Loc: Ottawa Ontario Canada         
I'm pretty flexible about the dates too but there are some products I don't take chances on. And sometimes things are spoiled or at least 'not good' before the date anyway. I often buy store-packaged salads or cut fruit the day or the day before the 'best before' because they mark them down $1 off or $2 off or whatever. Usually they're perfectly fine, but this past weekend I bought a thing of cubes of watermelon that was best before yesterday and they were not good when I tried to eat them yesterday!

I find meat the hardest thing to judge. I feel like it's something that's most likely to make me sick, so I want to be extra careful... but it's hard to know how long is too long. For example I bought a package of chicken on a Sunday recently and wanted to cook it the following Tuesday, so I just stuck it in the fridge, not the freezer. Well come Tuesday I was not feeling well that day and didn't really want to cook. I waffled a lot on whether it'd be ok to cook the chicken on the Wednesday. Most websites say 2-3 days in the fridge for chicken, but others said 1-2. I ended up cooking it and I'm still alive but I find those borderline cases hard to decide. I don't want to get really sick for the sake of not throwing out $8 worth of chicken. In this case, the dates on the package didn't even help because the best before date they put on the package was more than two weeks after the day I bought the chicken! Now there's no way I'm leaving chicken in my fridge for over two weeks and still eating it!
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#1013419 - Tue Oct 01 2013 06:02 PM Re: Food past its sell by date [Re: ren33]
satguru Offline
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Registered: Thu Feb 17 2000
Posts: 6473
Loc: Kingsbury London UK           
My grandma created a possibly original version of supplies, antique food. Of course until the 80s or so such labels did not exist and we used our natural discretion and if the food seemed OK we ate it unless it was meat in which case there are standard periods it is safe to eat and then not. Milk products last especially well a week or two past it, and as my engineer pushed my old fridge to 2C from 4 and they did I've kept the new one on it ever since and keeps them far longer. So basically as others have pointed out already, meat is special and can't tell if it's OK and carries some dreadful germs otherwise, while most other things will tell you if it's off. My grandma had things in both old money (pre-1971 price labels) and previous decades in her kitchen and quite certain some if it got eaten sooner or later (including probably giving it to visitors) and she never had a single problem as she was brought up to work it out herself.
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#1013564 - Wed Oct 02 2013 08:17 AM Re: Food past its sell by date [Re: ren33]
sue943 Offline

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Registered: Sun Dec 19 1999
Posts: 35681
Loc: Jersey Channel Islands        
There was a television programme a year or so back when the presenter ate food thrown out in skips etc behind shops and restaurants, some of it was quite mangy but he suffered no ill effects. I have searched for details and it was Jonathan Maitland and here is a link to the story in the Daily Mail.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/articl...dates-food.html

Edited to say that time flies and it was 2008 from the date on thea rticle.


Edited by sue943 (Wed Oct 02 2013 08:18 AM)
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#1013652 - Wed Oct 02 2013 06:43 PM Re: Food past its sell by date [Re: ren33]
Lones78 Offline
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Registered: Mon Apr 27 2009
Posts: 1405
Loc: Forrestfield Western Australia
My rule of thumb is - if it smells funky, I won't eat it. I won't cook meat if it smells weird either.
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#1013834 - Thu Oct 03 2013 01:11 PM Re: Food past its sell by date [Re: ren33]
Gheelnory Offline
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Registered: Wed Aug 07 2013
Posts: 78
Loc: Florida USA
Anyone know what the situation is with bottled water? (I realize that bottled water is considered to be profoundly immoral by some, but I have an elderly parent who's just not up to dealing with refillable stainless steel bottles--to get her to drink the water she needs when we're out and about, little plastic clean fresh water bottles are the only thing I've found that works.)

I've often wondered if the expiration dates on those are due to the expectation that bacteria build up in them over time, or if it's a matter of the water (a natural solvent) breaking down the plastic.
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#1013836 - Thu Oct 03 2013 01:33 PM Re: Food past its sell by date [Re: Lones78]
Tizzabelle Offline
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Registered: Sun Jan 17 2010
Posts: 2146
Loc: Sydney NSW Australia         
Originally Posted By: Lones78
My rule of thumb is - if it smells funky, I won't eat it. I won't cook meat if it smells weird either.
I have the same MO. If it looks ok, smells ok, feels ok and tastes ok, it's probably ok. smile Milk can be deceiving. You make a cuppa thinking the milk is ok, but one mouthful can tell you that it's on the turn.. Yeech! sick
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#1013910 - Thu Oct 03 2013 06:37 PM Re: Food past its sell by date [Re: Tizzabelle]
Lones78 Offline
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Registered: Mon Apr 27 2009
Posts: 1405
Loc: Forrestfield Western Australia
Originally Posted By: Tizzabelle
Originally Posted By: Lones78
My rule of thumb is - if it smells funky, I won't eat it. I won't cook meat if it smells weird either.
I have the same MO. If it looks ok, smells ok, feels ok and tastes ok, it's probably ok. smile Milk can be deceiving. You make a cuppa thinking the milk is ok, but one mouthful can tell you that it's on the turn.. Yeech! sick


I don't drink milk (it doesn't sit well for some reason) but the smell of fresh milk turns my stomach - milk near it's use-by date gets left to hubby or the kids to sniff out! smile
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#1013946 - Fri Oct 04 2013 02:52 AM Re: Food past its sell by date [Re: Lones78]
C30 Offline
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Registered: Sat Nov 13 2010
Posts: 100
Loc: Lancashire England UK         
Problem is, my dearly beloved adheres to "best before and use by" dates, and it is "taboo" in this house to do otherwise. IMO half of what she ditches, is perfectly ok to eat, but "we" do not "risk" it!
Thus Supermarket offers (another "fly to honeypot" lure to "She who must be obeyed"), become "Buy one, get two free to throw away".

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#1013947 - Fri Oct 04 2013 03:41 AM Re: Food past its sell by date [Re: ren33]
Jabberwok Offline
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Registered: Tue Jun 24 2008
Posts: 415
Loc: Sussex England UK             
This is why you need friends or family, C30. We split BOGOF offers with ours.
Or a decent freezer.
or you could do the shopping instead. smile
My father would have created a chart in the kitchen, listing the item, weight and cost of every foodstuff that was thrown away unnecessarily, and use it to harangue his loving family.
One of my friends is married to a nerdy physicist who used to throw away food by the armload and cannot tolerate any idea of leftovers. Somehow they have been together for decades.
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#1014050 - Fri Oct 04 2013 01:57 PM Re: Food past its sell by date [Re: sue943]
postcards2go Offline
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Registered: Thu Nov 20 2008
Posts: 801
Loc: New Jersey USA
Originally Posted By: sue943
There was a television programme a year or so back when the presenter ate food thrown out in skips etc behind shops and restaurants, some of it was quite mangy but he suffered no ill effects.


My daughter took a course at university that looked at free edibles in New York City. It included several nights of 'dumpster diving'. There are many needy people in the city, going hungry, yet grocers and restaurants are throwing away perfectly good food each evening. My daughter suffered no ill effects, and is much more mindful of waste.
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#1014131 - Sat Oct 05 2013 02:34 AM Re: Food past its sell by date [Re: postcards2go]
C30 Offline
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Registered: Sat Nov 13 2010
Posts: 100
Loc: Lancashire England UK         
Jabberwok........Quote, "or you could do the shopping instead. smile", unquote.

Until I was deemed medically unfit to drive, the weekly shop was done each week by me, since I retired in 2006. Now we do it together!

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#1014341 - Sun Oct 06 2013 04:06 PM Re: Food past its sell by date [Re: ren33]
sue943 Offline

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Registered: Sun Dec 19 1999
Posts: 35681
Loc: Jersey Channel Islands        
My son used to eat food thrown out by shops and restaurants, he wasn't wasting money on food when he needed it for heroin. He survived and is three years clean now so eating bought food.
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#1014370 - Sun Oct 06 2013 07:11 PM Re: Food past its sell by date [Re: ren33]
postcards2go Offline
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Registered: Thu Nov 20 2008
Posts: 801
Loc: New Jersey USA
He's clean all-round. He survived it all! Good for him smile
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